The Ghanaian government will soon disband all of the so-called witches camps in the country according to Chief Psychiatrist Dr. Akwasi Osei. He says the practice of confining elderly women who are banned from their communities to such camps infringes on their human rights. His comments come on the heels of similar calls by Deputy Women and Children’s Affairs Minister Hawa Gariba. The minister, who toured the Nyani “Witches” camp near Yendi in the Northern Region recently, described the camps as a national disaster.
Chief Psychiatrist Dr. Akwasi Osei told Joy News a national conference will be convened next week to address the issue. He said there were about six withes camps spanning across the three northern region where mainly poor, old, desolate, sometimes childless women are held in the name of witchcraft.
“Never have you seen a man… being accused of [witchcraft] and being sent there; never have you seen a young lady, beautiful, resourceful being accused; it is always the defenseless, vulnerable woman and when they go there… there are literally ostracised from the society and they are starved, they go through a whole lot of things including child labour,” he stated.
But managers of some of these camps have urged government to be cautious in their approach to disbanding the camps. Alhassan Sayibu, who manages the Nyani camp told Joy News the focus should be on educating communities against the practice.